Friday, 27 April 2012

Drought resistant gardens

Southern Waters Chelsea garden to be.

I was asked to give a bit of help to the creation of their drought tolerant garden and this is what I came up with.

Drought resistant gardens... Why Prairie Plants ?

When asked to give a bit of advice I wanted to get away from the traditional Mediterranean solution of lavenders, rosemarys, and agaves. Which are great in hot and dry summers but struggle or fail in cool wet summer/winters.

I wanted to find plants that can survive all the rubbish that a typical British year throws at us (just look at this March and then April).

One answer was prairie plants, taking as inspiration the weather of the Russian Steppes, wickedly cold in the winter, miserably muddy in spring/autumn and devilishly hot in  summer. So anything surviving there would do the trick. Russian Steppes, European Plains and American Prairies it was.

As you know that is not all, but that will be another story!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

RHS Cardiff - Bronze

Pleased with bronze medal at RHS Cardiff, especially as our plants are germinating sooo slowly this year! Although really wanted Silver this year!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Day and a half later voila. One Cardiff display!... just add sweat blood and tears!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

By the way I have also found a really easy way to germinate erythrina seeds in about a week, but just to keep you watching, more news later.

Erythrinas, Adansonias and other Caudiforms/dry winter tropicals

Right as promised
How to overwinter Erythrinas, Adansonias and other caudiforms/dry winter tropicals. I will publish a definitive list (well ones that I've tried and succeeded with) "promise".

Very simple easy and best of all saves precious greenhouse space!!!

Basically pull the plant out of its pot in early October, bash the loose roots off and leave to fall, or cut off its leaves, place it in an open box and store somewhere fairly light, very dry and cool (top of a cupboard in the spare room for example). Early March, re-pot, water and add heat and hey presto instant jungle plant.

It may need a bit of pruning back to the live bits but essentially this will allow us poor British people to at least have some decent sized tropical patio plants without busting the budget.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

What's to come

Right first time for everything, once I've got a few spare seconds, two topics I will cover soon
1. A planting list of drought resistant water loving plants (yes you have read correctly)
2. How to overwinter tropical Erythrinas and others extremely easily

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

BRONZE MEDAL - RHS Great London Plant Fair

Pleased to have won a Bronze medal with our display of exotics. 

Now looking forward to RHS Cardiff... lets see if we can improve on the Bronze!

You can see a pic here.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Despite the cold nights, our tropical plants are starting to reactivate, including the first of the very rare erythrinas Lysistemon (Lucky bean tree) and  Speciosa.

This is particularly rewarding as we've used a new method this year... more to follow.


RHS Great London Plant Fair

Getting ready for next weeks RHS London Plant Fair. As you can imagine there's lots to do. It's always a last minute thing, waiting to choose the plants which are ready and looking there best. Here are some pics of the plants picked so far.

If you fancy a trip out here are the details.  It should be a good show

And do remember to come and see us.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Handkerchief Tree - disaster!

Nooo, just got into nursery to find a mouse has eaten five out of seven handkerchief tree seedlings, taken a year to germinate!!

This is native to the woodlands of China, and has a small flowerhead surrounded by two large white bracets, one side much larger than the other, giving it its common name.

It's a hardy tree which grows well in fertile, moist but well drained soil.  It prefers sun or partial shade.

Also known as the Dove or Ghost tree.

For a great story on how this tree arrived in England there is an good piece on the Kew website, click here.

Monday, 2 April 2012


Everything seems to be bursting into flower... which means it's time for the frost... yep and as if by magic the frost appears.